The holidays can be an extremely stressful time for those with even the best family situations, and they can be near impossible for the black sheep. Oh good, a room full of people disappointed in me! Let’s have a nice meal together. Great. Luckily, I’ve put together my top survival tips for getting through the season while still proudly being the black sheep.
Know Your Boundaries.
Once you know your own emotional boundaries, you’ll feel so much more relaxed even in uncomfortable situations. If you have a hard boundary on weight talk, counter Aunt Eve’s remarks about your body with a simple, “I’d rather not talk about it.” If she persists, repeat yourself again and, if possible, leave the room for a moment. You don’t have to bend your boundaries for family.
“No” is a Complete Sentence.
This is another big one for boundaries. You do not have to explain anything, to anyone, for any reason. A firm, but polite “No” is the only explanation you need to give. “Come give your Uncle a kiss!” No. “Are you seeing anyone special this year?” No. “Can you watch your cousins while we go to a movie?” No. Consider this your permission slip to not explain yourself.
Make Time for Yourself.
Giving yourself the quiet alone time we all need can be especially difficult if you’re staying in the family home, or if you have guests staying with you. Commit to giving yourself the space you need for just 30 minutes a day. Even if it means sneaking out to your car and parking a block away to browse instagram, give yourself private time to breathe. Can’t leave? Shut your bedroom door and pop on some headphones. You’ll feel so much better prepared to socialize after you’ve given yourself a break.
Let your freak flag fly! There’s no use making yourself miserable by playing a role for family that already judges you. Make the weird reference no one else will get, but you find hilarious. Put on your favorite film, even if you don’t think the rest of the house wants to watch it. Been reading a lot of fanfiction lately? Let your family know you’ve been reading a lot of independant fiction from up and coming writers you’ve found online. Live your truth.
There’s No “Right” Way to Celebrate.
If you just can’t face family this holiday season, you can have a full, happy celebration without them. Let yourself enjoy your office party, a get together with friends, even just watching Christmas movies at home. You haven’t failed Christmas if you don’t spend it with family. The important thing is to celebrate in ways that fulfill you, whatever that means to you personally.